Seven Most Powerful Women In Tech

by Sohini Bagchi    Mar 07, 2014

tech women

The technology industry appears to be highly male dominated at the top, having only a few female executives as part of the boardroom. However, there are some who have made significant mark in the tech world in the last few decades and emerged on top. These women are not only earning huge fame, and money, but are also giving equally tough competition to their male counterparts.

Based on Forbes ranking of some of the most powerful women in 2013, CXOtoday has shortlisted a few powerful women who has been  the crowning glory of some of the biggest technology companies in the world.

Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo

Marissa Mayer

When Mayer took over as CEO of Yahoo, a company inundated by declining stock prices, layoffs and slowing ad revenue, she made clear that turning around the company would take years of hard work. She’s moved aggressively to improve the company’s products and generated buzz with splashy acquisitions. And most importantly, she has improved the company morale.

Prior to joining Yahoo in 2012, she spent 13 years at Google, where her work in production development largely contributed to the site’s unique look and feel and was honored for her work ethics and vision. In a 2008 interview, she said “I helped build Google,” Mayer said, “but I don’t like to rest on [my] laurels. I think the most interesting thing is what happens next.”

Eminent journalist of TIME, Sam Gustin notes that Tasked with course-correcting the company, Mayer is the fifth CEO hired by Yahoo in the past five years, and from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, there’s a feeling that people are hoping for her to succeed. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine that there are many tech executives more qualified to pull off this turnaround than Mayer. In September of 2013, Mayer was ranked number one by Fortune magazine in its annual “40 Under 40″ list of business leaders.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

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In her book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg inspired a new thought leadership for women in the workplace. The book sold nearly 150,000 copies in its first week and has held the top non-fiction spot on bestseller lists since. With Facebook’s share prices up more than 130% in the last 12 months as of mid-Feb. 2014, Sandberg is now one of the world’s youngest self-made women billionaires, as per reports. A former Google executive, Sandberg was wooed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2007 to take Facebook to a new level, which was then only a startup. And together they did change the tech world with the social media platform. She was largely responsible for , pushing the company toward strong earnings performances with improvements in mobile strategy. In addition to her role at Facebook, Sandberg also sits on the board at the Walt Disney Co.

Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM

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After being with the tech giant for over three decades in various senior positions, IBM CEO Virginia M. Rometty took the helm on Jan 2012, as the 100-year-old company’s first female CEO, replacing longtime Chief Samuel Palmisano, who remains as the company’s chairman. When her appointment was announced in October 2011, Rometty told the New York Times that she does not anticipate changing course abruptly. Yet, Romettty’s first move, on the next day, was to make key management changes followed by a number of acquisitions in the following weeks. Bloomberg reports that Rometty is trying to reach a goal of $20 billion in revenue growth with new markets like cloud computing and business analytics software by 2015. “We are an innovation company. This means that we pursue continuous transformation,” says the IBM Chief, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University.

Meg Whitman, CEO, HP

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In May 2013, Bloomberg named Meg Whitman the “Most Underachieving CEO” among big-company CEOs whose stocks have turned in the worst numbers - underperforming by 30 percentage points since Whitman took the job. So does that make her less powerful in the tech world? Not really! Clearing away the past mistakes Meg Whitman is gearing towards the future. “I cannot change the past but I can change the future,” says the former eBay chief who has recently beat Wall Street’s expectations last quarter with her push to focus on enterprise hardware. “HP is in a stronger position today than we’ve been in quite some time. The progress we’re making is reflected in growth across several parts of our portfolio, the growing strength of our balance sheet, and the strong support we’re receiving from customers and channel partners.” At a time when many of its competitors are confronting new challenges, she believes the comeback in its new avatar will set the stage up for an exciting future.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO YouTube, Google, SVP

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Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube and previously working as SVP Advertising & Commerce at Google, where she leads all of Google’s ad products, AdWords and AdSense, Analytics and DoubleClick. She was responsible for 87% of the company’s $50 billion revenue in 2012, some $43.5 billion. Wojcicki joined Google in 1999 as the company’s first marketing manager and worked on the initial marketing programs. She also led the initial development of several key successful consumer products including Google Images and Google Books. Before joining Google, Wojcicki worked at Intel, Bain & Company, and several start-ups. She graduated from Harvard University, holds a master’s in economics from the UC Santa Cruz, and an MBA from UCLA. Wojcicki has deep Google roots. She rented out her garage to Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998 where Google was born, and her sister Anne is married to Brin.

Padmasree Warrior, chief technology and strategy officer, Cisco

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When Cisco CEO John chambers was asked who might succeed him once he retires from the internet networking giant, he mentioned Warrior’s name as one of the two most potential candidates, referring to her as one of the sharpest technology persons in the world.” She is often referred to as the “Cisco Superwoman” within the company and in the industry. Warrior, who has taken the tech world by storm has been successful in driving some of the key initiatives at the company, including incubation of new technologies and strategic acquisitions. A graduate from IIT-Delhi who completed masters in chemical engineering at Cornell, her achievements and creative leadership have been widely recognized in the industry. Before joining Cisco, Warrior was the CTO at Motorola, and led her team to win the prestigious National Technology Award in 2004. She uses tweeting as a tool to put herself in a more creative mode and meditates daily to be at peace with herself.

Safra Ada Catz, Co-president & CFO, Oracle

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The Israel born Safra Ada Catz joined Oracle in 1999 and has been the president of Oracle Corporation since January 2004. She has been appointed as the CFO since 2011. She played a key role in the acquisition of rival PeopleSoft. She is also an independent non-executive director at HSBC Holdings since 2008. Last year, she became a member of executive council at TechNet. She was the director of PeopleSoft Inc and Stellent Inc as well. In Catz’s 14-year-tenure at Oracle, she’s overseen dozens of mega deals like the recent $1.9-billion purchase of human-resources software company Taleo, among several others.